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Search is on for hiker, last seen Oct. 19

October 30, 2012

The backcountry area where the search for Conn continues. Photo/National Park Service

Local authorities are continuing a search for a missing hiker from Pacific Palisades who has been in the backcountry for more than 10 days.

Authorities launched a massive search effort last Wednesday after the hiker failed to return from a planned three-day hike in the Inyo National Forest.

According to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Public Information Officer Dana Dierkes, 53-year-old Lawrence “Larry” Conn started a hike from the Taboose Creek Trailhead on Friday, Oct. 19, with plans to travel over Taboose Pass towards the John Muir Trail in Kings Canyon National Park. Rescuers believe his route may have included Split Mountain and areas to the south, including Pinchot Pass. He was scheduled to return to the Taboose Creek Trailhead Monday, Oct. 22.

He was reported missing Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Search and Rescue crews from Kings Canyon National Park, the Inyo National Forest, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department and Yosemite are conducting a search at an elevation of about 10,000 to 12,000 feet, in approximately one to one-and-a-half feet of snow and temperatures ranging from the mid ’30s in the day to the low ’20s at night.

Dierkes said it is currently unclear how well Conn had prepared for the extreme temperatures before setting out on the solo hike.

Search crews are using thermal imaging technology in an effort to locate Conn.

As of Sunday, more than 40 rescuers were active in the search.

“Efforts included ground search teams (nine), three dogs and two contract helicopters,” Dierkes said. “Search efforts were focused on specific high-probability areas around Pinchot Pass, Taboose Pass and Split Mountain, including likely travel corridors/camp locations.”

Dierkes also said that, in addition to the cold temperatures and snow, search crews are contending with ice and high winds.

As of mid-morning Monday, searches were unable to find any clues connected to the missing hiker.
“Managers continue to evaluate any new information to determine the direction of search efforts over the next days,” Dierkes said.

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